In service to the land, water and air — we all still share (Opinion) |

In service to the land, water and air — we all still share (Opinion)

Jacquie Chandler
Guest column

Tick, Tick, Boom! 

Fossil Fuels continue to undermine our planetary life support accelerating extreme weather and wildfires circling our Earth. It’s painful watching people, wildlife and forests lose life, home and habitat.

While I am encouraged by the rise in cycling, walking, rideshare and transit use, each mile of burned gas emits on average about 404 grams of CO2. If your car gets 22 miles per gallon, and you drive around 11,000 miles a year, that’s a personal contribution of 4.6 metric tons of CO2 a year. Tick Tick tick….

Yet with few news stories continuing to connect our demand for fossil fuels to our ability to survive their impact … It’s easy to believe there is no real problem here, even as we struggle to mitigate longer, hotter, and deadlier summers.

And we know how we got here. The automobile industry did such an outstanding PR job connecting freedom to driving, we built our urban habitats around the automobile, making it very difficult to not drive. Yet, the longer we allow coal, oil, and gas companies to dig and burn, the worse the impacts of the climate crisis will continue. With every fraction of a degree of warming, we’ll see and suffer more extreme heat, droughts, floods, wildfires, and hurricanes. 

To be fair, the fossil fuel industry continues to thrive because it has a powerful lobby ensuring subsidies to keep our dependency on oil-powered cars, planes, jets and boats strong, easy and attractive, especially if you live and work in ‘transit deserts’ that also lack safe pedestrian routes, or easy ride-share options … so CO2 emissions keep rising. 

That leaves our individual/collective/cultural choices at the forefront of accelerating extreme weather events, as the fossil fuel industry keep digging, burning, and profiting, with minimal accountability and maximum profit. Tick tick tick …

While the urgency requires huge cultural pivots, each of us can step up:

1) Vote with your money on what and how you purchase, transport and use energy. Do a lifestyle assessment and see if there are more ways you can reduce fossil fuel use (every step helps

2) Tell the Truth: extreme weather is not a “crisis” that just happens to us – it’s a crime, and our dependence on fossil fuels supported by federal subsidies is ground 0.

3) Speak up: Media, (including everyone with a social media voice) can influence better choices and keep this urgency top of mind. Share what you do to reduce your consumption.

Together we can make it “Cool to Care” and stop the countdown.

Jacquie Chandler is executive director for Sustain Tahoe whose mission is to develop, educate, and facilitate the adoption of ​geotourism principles for ​​Destination Stewardship and Responsible Travel. 

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